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BACKUPAGAIN SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,995)
Posts: 296
10/5/11 4:59 P

Thank you! I hadn't taken that into consideration, although I do generally combine my iron rich veggies with red, orange and yellow veggies - but in the past its been purely for the well balanced colours than well balanced vitamins and minerals. I'll be paying special attention to these things from now on. emoticon

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
10/5/11 1:02 P

with the high amounts of green leafy veggies make sure that you are getting vitamin c too. So with kale or spinach, mix it with red or yellow peppers, broccoli, parsley, oranges, and strawberries to name a few.

BACKUPAGAIN SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,995)
Posts: 296
10/5/11 5:41 A

Thank you all for taking the time to give me all that great advice - I really appreciate it. I really have learned a lot, specially the possible consequences of the whole iron-calcium combination. I will put more focus on not trying to combine major amounts of each at the same meal. I honestly hadn't given a thought to the amount of added iron in commerciall breakfast cereals, which really makes the whole problem a lot more easily overcome. It was great to read that list of iron rich foods, specially as it went from high to low iron content - a great reminder of lots of stuff I'd forgotten.

My last blood work came back with all my results within acceptable levels, even though I had been living in junk food, chocaholic heaven! Can't wait to see what the next one is with my new healthy eating plan in action for a few months.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
10/4/11 5:58 P

I think that, if you have an abundance of calcium in your diet, but you are lacking iron, that you might be able to exchange some of the calcium rich foods for foods that are higher in iron. That way, you will be getting the iron that you need and still getting your calcium while staying within your calorie range.

Here's a list of iron rich foods:

Supposedly, cooking in cast iron cookware will also significantly raise the iron levels in some foods.

I would advise you to not take iron supplements (aside from whatever is in a daily multivitamin) without a doctor's supervision. It's pretty easy to get too much iron this way and it can lead to some pretty serious health problems. If you feel like you've been lacking in dietary iron for a long time now, you might want to discuss this with your doctor. He/she can run a blood test to see if you're anemic and, if you are and they suspect iron deficiency anemia, they can run further blood tests to see if your body's iron stores are low.

So far as eating a diet rich in calcium, unless you have a medical condition that requires you to limit your calcium intake, I doubt that you are going to be able to consume so much calcium in your food alone (without taking a bunch of calcium supplements) that it will cause you a problem. Your doctor is probably the one to give you the best information about what he/she thinks your particular calcium intake should be. Unfortunately, your doctor cannot run a blood test to see if your dietary calcium is too high or too low. The level of calcium in your blood is very closely controlled and your body maintains your blood calcium level within a relatively narrow range of values even when your diet has a lot of calcium or is lacking in calcium. The vast, vast majority of calcium in your body is stored in your bones and your body will take calcium from your bones, when needed, to maintain your blood calcium level at its proper level. When you give your body extra calcium, it is usually either stored in your bones or excreted (urine/stool) and it does not show up as a high blood calcium level.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 10/4/2011 (17:59)
SUZYMM Posts: 71
10/4/11 10:07 A

Here are a couple of links that might help.

I agree with a previous poster who said that you should get your blood levels checked before you worry too much. Eating a variety of healthy foods should supply your needs for these nutrients.

Fitness Minutes: (5,162)
Posts: 487
10/4/11 8:21 A

Here is an interesting article related to high calcium intake:

Like PP said, calcium can interfere with iron absobtion so if you're getting excess calcium it may be preventing you from getting the benefits from the iron rich foods you are eating.

I would recommend getting blood work done before worrying about either nutrient though. Finding out if your blood levels for iron and calcium are at a good range can help you determine what changes, if any, need to be made to your current diet.

SILVERSTAR1975 SparkPoints: (8,820)
Fitness Minutes: (6,387)
Posts: 120
10/4/11 8:05 A

I take iron supplements. It's the only way I've been able to successfully get my iron levels high enough to donate blood on a regular basis. I was told to never take them along with a calcium supplement or any dairy. I'm not sure of the science behind it, but the calcium blocks the absorption of iron. Iron is actually best absorbed along with vitamin C.

I would think the same would be true if you're trying to get your iron through food. Avoid eating dairy along with any foods your purposely eating for iron. Beans, tofu, pumpkin seeds, and of course iron enriched cereals are some other non-meat options.

BACKUPAGAIN SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,995)
Posts: 296
10/4/11 7:34 A

I began with Spark a week ago and have been enjoying learning how to make sure my meal plans are within my nutritional guidelines for calories, fat, carbs and protein. I have also begun tracking my iron, calcium, sodium and cholesterol levels out of interest, and because I don't eat meat.
I have, over a week, averaged an acceptable sodium intake. My iron levels are consistently low, generally in the 40 -60 region. My calcium levels have frequently been well over recommended amounts. Everything else is within range.
How can I include more iron rich foods in my diet? I already eat a lot of dark green leafy vegetables, so what other sources are there?
Is a high calcium intake harmful over a period of time? I have skim milk, yoghurt and cheese each day, and am wondering if this is too much. Should I stick with just two of those choices per day?
I would really appreciate receiving your suggestions and opinions on these questions, as I want to make sure my meals are as healthy as possible. No sense in my losing weight if I am going to neglect the nutritional levels in my foods.

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